meet Dr. Wilhelm B. Shockley of the Nikola
Tesla group at the Doniker institute of
advanced electrical phenomenon studies, who
will assist us in conducting the following
scientific experiment and is here to oversee
safety protocols and clinical procedures…
The standing insulator is
rated to ten thousand volts...
“Now Ladies and Gentlemen,
at this time it is necessary for me to ask that you all please
cooperate by turning off your cell phones and electronic
equipment while we energize the electric chair, this is for your
own protection, as the extremely high voltages employed in this
demonstration can cause permanent and severe damage to
electronic equipment, anyone who has a pacemaker or other
medical equipment implanted should at this time step out into
The scientist throws a switch and
her body is electrified, she
writhes and squirms ( is it agony
or is it ecstasy? ) in the chair
as her body is energized with a
high voltage charge…
The scientist again throws the
switch disconnecting the current
and Electra Voltara collapses
theatrically in apparent
exhaustion and then recovers and
announces that she is ready to
She then lights fluorescent bulbs
from all parts of her body, sparks
fly from her fingertips…
With this selector switch,
the electric girl can be AC or DC...
These brass insoles were
designed by Dr. Scholl...
Good connections are very
important in show business...
from Bob Atterbury of the Hamid-Morton
Circus in Trenton NJ 1965...
”One hundred and sixty six
pounds of brass and copper on a maple chair...
anyone in the audience have a metal object
we can borrow for this next demonstration?
Yes sir, your car keys will do, please bring
them up here, thank you, now please throw,
do not place but throw them into the metal
pan that Madam Voltara has in her hand, you
will see a flash of light, your keys will
not be harmed, they will be returned to
anyone else in the audience care to
participate in this demonstration?"...
"Anyone with a handful of coins to add, the
more metal objects, the better"...
"That's right folks, you will have the
opportunity to reclaim your coins, as a
matter of fact, you will be allowed to grab
as many coins as you want"...
"Just keep tossing them in, we'll wait,
bring them up here, anyone else?"...
The chair came to me many
years ago from a haunted house in Miami…
Even before the chair, the Tesla coil had been part of a show at
the Steel Pier in Atlantic City and was a gift from legendary
Showman Bob Atterbury…
Other components had been accumulated from a variety of sources…
Brass “baby shoes” from the Royal American back when apple
sticks were UL rated…
Ceramic insulators from the rooftop trees of “pot trucks” on the
Perforated angle left over from the sound system installed for
the “Epcot Daredevil Circus” at Walt Disney World (lawfully
acquired from Walt Disney Productions property control
Giant mogul base lamp globes and vintage hardware (square nuts)
from old rotted wooden banner line sections from the Sam
Alexander Sideshow when it was retired by Rudy Jacobi…
Brass findings from the old Astroland Park in Coney Island…
Some copper salvaged from old out of code show wire…
A quarter pound of imagination…
A month or so of tinkering…
that's left is to study up and polish the
“A young girl is walking
in the countryside and is caught in a sudden storm. She takes
shelter under a tree and is struck by a bolt of lightning.
Remarkably, she is unharmed and walks away, she is however
forever changed. Everyone she comes into contact with is
electrically shocked. Over time she discovers that she has the
ability to contain and control electrical energy in her body.
She develops an addiction to electrical energy. She drains the
electricity from car batteries, she absorbs power from telephone
lines, she uses hairpins to collect power from electrical
outlets. She is able to release the energy at will…”
The "Crown" is solid brass
with copper electrical fittings...
“We have arranged to have
this strange young lady appear here tonight to demonstrate for
you her strange ability”…
will strap her into an actual electric chair
and shoot voltage through her system. Sparks
of electricity jump from her fingertips as
she lights up light bulbs in her bare hands.
It is positively shocking...
Some of the original components of this prop
date back a half century...
There are parts which came from Sam
Alexander's Sideshow, and other parts from
Bob Atterbury and the Steel Pier in Atlantic
The chair is to be featured at a major
International performance arts festival in
Montreal in March...
Photographs courtesy of Lee Kolozsy copyright
all rights reserved
If you have a question
you would like to submit email us at the
Sideshow Photos Back